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Tom Deignan

Tom Deignan is a longtime columnist for the Irish Voice newspaper, and has written about books for the Washington Post and the New York Times. He teaches English and Humanities at CUNY, and is working on a book about immigration.

Review of The Patriots

And so, three generations of yearning wanderers are trapped in an emotional limbo between the United States and Russia, weighed down by—yet also dangerously ignorant—of history. When Lenny says, “nothing here is straightforward,” Krasikov wants us to think not only about Russia, but also family life, over the decades.

Alex Gilvarry's Eastman Was Here

In a now-famous 1997 smack down, David Foster Wallace took a generation of great American novelists—Updike, Mailer, Roth—to task.

Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House

It could be argued that Jennifer Egan, in 2010, took it upon herself to find a cure for what Zadie Smith once called “our ailing literary culture.”

Michael Magee’s Close to Home

It so happens Magee’s much-hyped novel—see the glowing write-ups not just in The Guardian but also Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly—is coming out just in time for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreements, which brought to the North a fragile calm, if not promised prosperity.

Nicole Flattery’s Nothing Special

“By her life within the home, woman gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.” It is perhaps with this fraught context in mind that we should read Nicole Flattery’s debut novel, a coming-of-age chronicle about the past and present, mothers and daughters—and Andy Warhol.

Not for Brooklyn in the First Place

Narrated by a young Irish immigrant named Liam, who arrives in Brooklyn from County Clare in 1915, Exile on Bridge Street chronicles the labor and ethnic strife that engulfed the borough’s immigrants and their children.

Fathers and Daughters: Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach

The poet Philip Larkin famously wrote: “They fuck you up, your mum and dad / They may not mean to, but they do.” Anna Kerrigan, the protagonist of Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Egan’s new novel, might well nod at Larkin’s sentiment, certainly as it relates to her father.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues